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Ballot Access News

Flint City Officials Will File Lawsuit to Allow Names on Mayoral Ballot (May 4, 2015, 04:31 PM)

According to this story, the city of Flint has hired an attorney who is expected to sue, to enable the city to put candidates on its ballot for Mayor.

Scottish National Party Favors Proportional Representation for Great Britain (May 4, 2015, 01:33 PM)

The Scottish National Party wants to convert elections for the British House of Commons to proportional representation, according to this story. The story also reports on the attitudes of the British Labour and Conservative Parties toward proportional representation.

The Union, Daily Newspaper for Nevada County, California, Carries Op-Ed Advocating Repeal of Proposition 14 (May 4, 2015, 12:50 PM)

David G. Briceno has this op-ed in The Union of Grass Valley, California. He advocates the repeal of the California top-two system. The Union is a daily newspaper serving Nevada County, California. Briceno notes the poor turnout in the 2014 election in California and suggests Proposition 14 helped cause that low turnout. Briceno is a Democrat.

Flint, Michigan Mayoral Ballot Now Has No Candidates Eligible (May 4, 2015, 12:25 PM)

As noted earlier, Flint, Michigan, election officials told candidates they had until April 28 to file petitions to be on the non-partisan ballot for city office this year. But then it was learned that the correct deadline was April 21. Last week it was thought that one Mayoral candidate had submitted a petition by the actual deadline, but now he has been told he didn’t have 700 valid signatures, so there are no candidates’ who have qualified to appear on the ballot. Michigan permits write-in votes in all primary and general elections. See this story.

New York Times Story on Tomorrow?s Special Legislative Election That Has No Democratic Nominee (May 4, 2015, 12:20 PM)

On May 5, New York will hold a special election in the 43rd district for Assembly. See this lengthy New York Times story about the race. Although the district is in an overwhelmingly Democratic district in Brooklyn, there is no Democratic Party nominee.

Concord, New Hampshire Newspaper Story on Bernie Sanders Also Covers Libertarian Ballot Access Lawsuit (May 3, 2015, 06:55 PM)

This Concord Monitor story is mainly about whether Bernie Sanders can get on the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary ballot, but the bottom portion of the article also discusses the Libertarian Party’s ballot access lawsuit against the New Hampshire law, passed in 2014, that won’t let new parties petition during odd years.

There have been many Libertarian Party lawsuits against various New Hampshire election restrictions during the last twenty years, but this is the first one that has had good coverage in New Hampshire’s daily newspapers.

New Hampshire is the only state in the nation in which no minor party or independent candidate lawsuit against a state ballot access law has ever won.

Michigan Secretary of State Wants Three of the Four Candidates for Mayor of Flint to be Removed from Ballot (May 3, 2015, 12:44 PM)

Flint, Michigan, has four candidates who filed in the non-partisan Mayoral election. The Michigan Secretary of State has told Flint election officials to remove three of them from the ballot, leaving only one candidate on the ballot. See this story. Local election officials thought the filing deadline was April 28, and advised the candidates of that date. But that was an error; the true deadline was April 21. Thanks to Nicholas Madaj for the link.

Bernie Sanders Lists His ?Party Affiliation? as ?Democratic Party? in FEC Filing (May 2, 2015, 12:10 PM)

On April 30, Bernie Sanders filled out his Federal Election Commission paperwork by saying his “party affiliation” is the “Democratic Party.” See a copy of the FEC form here. Thanks to Vermont National Public Radio for the link.

U.S. District Court in New Mexico Upholds Independent Petition Requirement (May 1, 2015, 12:16 PM)

On April 30, U.S. District Court Judge Martha Vazquez, a Clinton appointee, upheld New Mexico’s requirement that an independent candidate submit a petition of 3% of the last vote cast. Parker v Duran, 14-cv-617. The plaintiff was a candidate for Public Education Commission, district 4. He needed 2,196 valid signatures, and was only able to collect 1,379 signatures.

He sued, noting that a minor party nominee in New Mexico for the same position would only have needed a 1% petition, which would have been 732 signatures. He was the appointed incumbent. Because he did not get on the ballot, the voters only saw the name of one candidate on the ballot, the Democratic nominee.

The decision is of poor quality, because it fails to mention most of the precedents that held that states cannot require more signatures for independent candidates than for newly-qualifying parties. It is obvious that if the purpose of petition requirements is to keep the ballot from being too crowded, it is irrational to require more signatures for an independent candidate than for an entire new party, because a new party can place many candidates on the ballot, whereas an independent petition only adds one name to the ballot.

The decision cites cases in which 3% petitions have been upheld, but the decisions cited did not relate to states that required more signatures for independents than new parties, except for one case, Nader v Connor, from Texas in 2004. The decision does not mention Danciu v Glisson, a Florida Supreme Court decision that said states cannot require more signatures for independents than for new parties. It does not mention DeLaney v Bartlett or Greaves v State Board of Elections, both of which said North Carolina could not require more signatures for independents than for new parties. It does not mention Childrey v Bennett, which documented that when Alabama was sued for requiring more signatures for independents than new parties, the state conceded that policy was unconstitutional. Parker will probably appeal to the 10th circuit.

Colorado Bill for a Presidential Primary Introduced (April 30, 2015, 10:47 PM)

Twenty-eight Colorado legislators have introduced SB 287, which would establish a presidential primary. Only parties that had polled at least 20% for president in the last election would be eligible for a presidential primary. The Governor would set the date, but it would always be in March. Under current law, since 2003, there is no presidential primary in Colorado; caucuses are used instead.

In 1992, Ross Perot got 23.32% of the vote for President in Colorado, but his ballot label was “independent”, so probably if the bill had been in effect in the 1990’s, there would have been no “Independent Party” presidential primary in 1996.

Under the terms of the bill, candidates get on the ballot with a filing fee of $10,000, or 10,000 signatures of party members. Section 1-4-1204 also seems to say candidates must have qualified for primary matching funds. It is conceivable that the intent of the bill is to provide that the filing fee/petition is not needed for candidates who qualify for primary season matching funds; the wording is ambiguous. The bill would be clearer if there were either an “and” or an “or” after 1-4-1204(a). Here is a copy of the bill. Thanks to Josh Putnam for this news.

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